Soil Sampling at Sword Beach in Normandy, France, 1943: How Geotechnical Engineering Influenced the D-Day Invasion
When the World paused last summer to remember the 75th anniversary of D-Day, many of us were gripped by stories, both heroic and horrific, told about the Allied invasion of Normandy’s beaches. One of these...

Best Practices For Geotechnical Site Characterization: Have We Regressed from Decades Past?
The objective of a geotechnical site-characterization program is to determine soil and rock stratigraphy, in-situ pore water pressure conditions, and soil and rock properties for analysis and design of...

Risk in Geotechnical Practice: Dealing With Uncertain Ground
Tools for identifying and managing risk in geotechnical engineering projects. Risk is an inherent component of all types of projects, no matter the size or discipline. Geotechnical engineering projects...

Risk in Geotechnical Practice: Geotechnical Judgment
People use judgment in every aspect of their lives. We rely on our judgments to make decisions that can have consequences from small to large on ourselves and on others, sometimes with life-threatening...

From Fame to Failure: The St. Francis Dam (Part 2)
In the July/August issue, History Lesson examined the construction of California's St. Francis Dam and its catastrophic failure in 1928. This month's instalment examines the causes and aftermath of the...

From Fame to Failure: The St. Francis Dam (Part 1)
One of the most devastating engineering disasters in American history, the 1928 St. Francis Dam failure has had a lasting impact on the profession of civil engineering....

The Transcona Grain Elevator Failure Revisited: A Modern Perspective a Century Later
More than a century ago, a seminal event in the then world of foundation engineering took place in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, when the mat-foundation-supported Transcona Grain Elevator underwent catastrophic...

Failures Inspire Progress: Protecting Sensitive Buildings from Tunnelling
Tunnelling in urban areas is always a challenge, and it’s especially so when construction is proximate to densely populated districts. Such was the case on January 25, 2005, when a 10-m length of a Barcelona...

Helicopter-Based Geophysical Reconnaissance of Levees: A Faster, Cost-Effective Tool for Assessing Their Risk
As with much of the nation's infrastructure, people are becoming more and more aware of the condition of levee systems in the United States. The media cast a spotlight on the New Orleans levee failures...

NTSB Issues Preliminary Report on Florida Bridge Collapse
In late May, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released its preliminary report about the March 15 structural failure and collapose of a partially-constructed pedestrian bridge in Miami....

Compliance with the Standard of Care: Hurricane Katrina Canal Breaches in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward
On August 29, 2005, more than 50 levees and flood walls failed to protect New Orleans, LA, during Hurricane Katrina, one of the most devastating storms to ever hit the U.S. mainland. Among the failures,...

Poison Oak, Mistakes, And Lessons: Tales of Geofailure Investigations
When things go wrong in geotechnical engineering — like ground movements and earthwork construction delays — failure investigations are often performed. In a typical geotechnical project, the path is relatively...

Forensic Investigations Get to the Facts: East Side IHNC Flood Wall Breaches during Hurricane Katrina
I served as a geotechnical expert for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) supporting the defense of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) against alleged professional negligence in its design of the...

Design of Submarine Pipelines Against Upheaval Buckling
This paper describes part of a comprehensive joint-industry project on upheaval buckling. It develops a semi-empirical simplified design method and detailed design methods based on a new numerical analysis,...

Railway Geotechnical Asset Management in Great Britain: How Modern-Day Techniques Help Monitor Railway Infrastructure Dating to the 1800s
This article discusses asset management, risk management, and earthworks failures as experienced by Network Rail (NR), the owner, operator, and asset manager of the majority of the rail network of Great...

What's New in Geo? The Future of Numerical Geo-Modeling: Is 3D Here to Stay?!
Application of soil mechanics in engineering practice has undergone remarkable changes over the past 50 years as a result of developments in computer technology. Each improvement in computing capability,...

ASCE-ASME Journal of Risk and Uncertainty in Engineering Systems, Part A: Civil Engineering
The journal will meet the needs of the researchers and engineers to address risk, disaster and failure-related challenges due to many sources and types of uncertainty in planning, design, analysis, construction,...

Remote Sensing: A New Revolution in Geotechnical Engineering
Remote sensing in the form of satellite imagery has become part of our everyday life—from displaying boring locations at a job site to the various mapping apps on our smart phones that help us get there....

Nature Sides with the Hidden Flaw: Lessons Learned from Failures of Earth-Support Systems
In recent years, the demand for excavations and fills of significant height has increased due to many factors, including requirements for below-grade parking for urban buildings and the need to construct...

Emergency Retaining Wall Replacement: The East 26th Street Slide Repair in Baltimore, MD
During a record rainfall on April 30, 2014, a century-old, stone retaining wall between a dense urban roadway (26th Street) and the CSXT railroad track in Baltimore, MD, failed. The stone retaining wall...

 

 

 

 

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